Maybe it’s because this post is being written from Southeast Iowa, where classic rock permeates the landscape as if being antennaed from the corn stalks themselves, but sometimes a hard jam you’ve heard dozens of times before pops out of the musical memory and connects in the here-and-now.
Take Pink Floyd. More than half a century after they formed in 1965 – and nearly as long as they gobbled their first doses of acid – the band runs the FM airwaves like few others. Songs including “Another Brick in the Wall”, “Money”, “Wish You Were Here”, and “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” remain in heavy rotation.
Then there’s “Interstellar Overdrive”, their epic 1967 instrumental recorded for their debut album, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn. Considered the Big Bang of space rock, the cosmic rock song taps a magnetic riff, repeats it, repeats it again and again and again and again until it propels upward. Whether you’ve never heard it or have been lost inside the riff for years, it’s a mindblower. Syd Barrett was still a member of the band when they recorded it, but by 1970 he had left amid struggles with mental health and substance abuse. His replacement was David Gilmour.
Below is an epic version of “Interstellar Overdrive” from the Fillmore West in San Francisco featuring Gilmour, drummer Nick Mason, bassist Roger Waters and keyboardist Richard Wright.